Gold Rush

Summer Juvenile Stakes (L) over 1000m on Saturday

Agra, sire Trippi’s first South African winner, seems likely to be a warm favourite for the Met-day juvenile feature

Seven juvenile colts and four fillies make up the field for the first black type race for their age. Assessing their relative merit at this time of the season is hazardous to say the least. There’s little collateral form, while the contestants have had at most two runs, and are likely to improve on their form shown so far. Add a couple of PE-visitors to the mix, then try and make a selection! Our early ratings hopefully will give help, writes Karel Miedema.

The Snaith stable has made an excellent start to the season with their juveniles, and looks to hold a strong hand. Agra was withdrawn at her first intended start, where she should have faced stable companion The Black Rose. The latter ran out a good winner, with Snaith stating afterwards that there was little between the two fillies at home. Agra made amends two weeks later, well supported. She raced a bit green, but was always handy and won convincingly, running on well. She’s bound to make improvement on the rating we have for her in that race.

Agra’s stable companion The Black Rose won again at her second start, taking on the colts, and finishing almost three lengths ahead of Captain Dino. The latter had won at his debut, when coming from off the pace. He was again racing a bit off the pace when beaten by The Black Rose, but seemed to be running on at least as well as the winner and we made him one for the notebook. It does not seem a foregone conclusion that Agra will have the better of him on Met-day.

When Captain Dino won his first start, he had Snaith’ colt Terminator over a length behind him. Terminator also had come from off the pace, running on, and should improve on the rating recorded there. Just over two lengths behind Captain Dino in that same race was Gooi Mielies, who’d missed the break and was never nearer than where he finished. Improvement was expect of him next time out, but that wasn’t forthcoming – he raced green and was reported to be hanging throughout. It’s hard to know whether he’s sound or not, but given his first run he should not be written off in this field.

The Captain Dino race also had King O Dreams in it, who finished just off Gooi Mielies, after being interfered with in the running. He took on The Black Rose at his second start, but was never in in contention, racing always well off the pace set by the winner. That effort was below his first, and he ought to make good improvement here. He certainly should have the better of Stormy Ridge, who was just ahead of him in The Black Rose race. Still further back in that race were first-timers Western Movie (stable mate of Gooi Mielies) and Gipsy Tinker, who was well behind, reportedly with a bruised foot.

Now on to the PE-visitors, Lord Jonathan and Rush To Gold. Both made their debut in the same race, where Lord Jonathan was supported from 9/2 to 5/2, and Rush To Gold drifted 8/1 to 14/1. The race, run early in December over 800m at Arlington on soft going, showed the opposite. Rush To Gold was never headed, running on well to win comfortably. Lord Jonathan raced green, in midfield, and finished some five lengths off the winner. A month later Lord Jonathan made amends, again racing off the pace, then running on well to win by a length from favourite Greenacre, who had been a 3-length third when Rush To Win won. That suggests that Rush To Gold will again have the better of Lord Jonathan.

In summary, a difficult choice. If Rush To Gold again races upfront, and makes the expected second-run improvement, he should take some beating. He’s the mount of Antony Delpech, an added advantage.

We expect there to be little between the Snaith-pair of Agra and Terminator, ridden by Coetzee and Strydom respectively, and Dennis Drier’s Captain Dino.

That looks a solid quartet bet, but if any of them should not come up to scratch, King O Dreams, Gooi Mielies or Lord Jonathan might make the bottom of the frame.

Rush To Gold, however, remains a firm first choice and looks to be good value to boot.

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